Two men attempted to steal protective gear and toilet paper from the Memorial Hospital of Converse County building earlier this month, a hospital executive said Tuesday.
Also on Tuesday, the hospital’s chief operating officer, Karl Hertz, said in a statement that a potential coronavirus patient who was admitted over the weekend has tested negative for the illness.
Hertz said that two men took supplies from the hospital’s office building and stole masks; they then attempted to steal material from the hospital itself, trying to take “masks, gloves, and toilet paper.” Surveillance footage was turned over to Douglas Police, and no arrests were made as of Tuesday morning.
The hospital changed its procedures and “removed all Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from public access,” Hertz said in an email.
The test results for the patient, who was admitted to the hospital’s isolation room for care, came back on Monday evening. No other patients at the Douglas hospital have met the criteria for testing for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
The hospital announced that it has made changes to its operations in light of the pandemic. They include:
- evaluating patients with respiratory symptoms at their cars prior to seeing a provider;
- asking screening questions prior to allowing patients entry to the hospital’s primary care clinics;
- closing outlying specialty clinics;
- canceling elective surgeries beginning March 23. They will be rescheduled to a later date;
- primary care providers will be canceling or rescheduling non-urgent appointments.
- The hospital has previously announced additional measures, including restricting access to the facility.
A hotline for potential COVID-19 patients has been established. It can be reached at 307-358-7399.
Editor's note: Hospital officials say they don't consider what happened to be a break in. They now say the men attempted to steal the material during normal business hours.